"There are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option, there never have been," Conrad said on Fox News Sunday. "So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is a wasted effort."
Earlier today, Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national convention in Phoenix today, sticking mainly to foreign policy, as his allies in Washington assess how much the White House raised the white flag on some key provisions of the health care bill in order to get it passed when Congress reconvenes in a few weeks.
While the president toured the Grand Canyon with his family Sunday, members of his administration made rounds addressing the chasm between what they want in the proposed health care overhaul and what they can get passed.
Facing false charges of a death panel rationing life-saving care and killing off seniors, the administration says the end-of-life care provisions in the bill may be eliminated.
Responding to critics who say they're uneasy about end-of-life care being discussed within the context of cost, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted "it isn't about cost-cutting."
"We wanted to make sure doctors were reimbursed for that very important consultation if family members chose to make it, and it's been turned into this scare tactic and probably will be off the table," Sebelius said Sunday on "This Week."
Such a sentiment comes even though the president made a personal pitch on the issue.
"I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it's like to watch somebody you love who's aging deteriorate," Obama said Sunday at a town hall meeting in Colorado. "So the notion that, somehow, I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma, I mean, when you start making arguments like that, that's simply dishonest."